Monday, February 23, 2009

Happy Mardi Gras!

Today is Mardi Gras, or "Faschingsdienstag" as it's called in Austria -- the last day before the start of Lent, the Catholic season of fasting and repentance. Mardi Gras in New Orleans is a world-famous, mostly outdoor, celebration. Faschingsdienstag in Austria marks the end of the ball season, the most famous of which -- the Vienna Opera Ball -- was already held last week. Tonight, I'll be getting together with some friends in Brooklyn to listen to Cajun music and maybe have a Po'Boy (a New Orleans-style sandwich) and a Sazerac (a New Orleans cocktail).

I am a freelance German-English translator interested in linguistics, as well as translation. My interest in linguistics dates back to my student days getting a degree in media studies. I began translating informally even before I arrived in the U.S. more than 20 years ago. After working in information technology and writing computer documentation, I started to translate for a living in 2000, and have been doing that ever since.

This blog will cover language -- particularly English as a global phenomenon, as well as translation as both a profession and an academic discipline. While writing about what admittedly can sometimes be dry subjects, humor won't be given short shrift, however. Translation, in particular, lends itself to some funny stories.

Consider this title for a French banking company's 2007 annual report to its shareholders: "Credit Agricole Group Under Scrutiny". While this may sound appropriate in the wake of the financial industry's collapse, it was not the intended meaning. The French original means "focus", so the title should have been "Focus on Credit Agricole Group". (This example came from Chris Durban in the ATA Chronicle of August 2008; the full article is, however, only available to members of the American Translators Association.)

Happy Mardi Gras!

Until next week,

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Under Construction

This is a new blog on language and translation from a German-English translator living in the U.S. Posting will start next Tuesday, February 24. I will post a new entry weekly, usually on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. In the meantime, you can visit my website at
Thanks for coming, and please check back next Tuesday!